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Author Topic: Finally, some use for excess solar power.  (Read 753 times)

glort

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Re: Finally, some use for excess solar power.
« Reply #15 on: October 03, 2018, 12:54:01 PM »

Hi Bob,

You can use Bio in the spray type oil burners with just a simple tuning of the air fuel ratio.  The other ones like in Oz that had some sort of pool of heating oil ( diesel) I don't know about but I see no reason it wouldn't work.  -Possibly- you may have to blend in some Kero or turps on this type but my experience and information on them is non existent.  The Spray type Gun Burners are not a problem with the simple tuning adjustment.

I always thought making bio to burn in heaters was a waste.  Then again, you can always do low Conversion bio so you get more for a given amount of Chemistry. The only real requirement for the bio in this application would be for it to light so if you had 25% conversion rate and it worked, Who cares?
I don't even think it's all that important to have full conversion Bio for vehicles and people like myself have been running straight oil for a long time.
The guy I consider the most Knowledgeable in the world whom I think lives in your wider area on the coast has also had this position since I got into the game.  It makes perfect sense to me.  The approved mentality however is to make the Bio as pure as can possibly be and of course invest more in achieving that really pointless goal than it's worth.

You can also run oil in the spray / Gun burners. That can either be thinned with Kero/ Diesel / turps or I have read of people just opening the furnace at the clean out door or swinging the gun out, throwing in a heap of lighted newspaper and firing up like that.  Depends if the thing is a Constant firing type or shuts down and fires up on demand.

My Aunt and Uncle at casino have an Aga type stove with a wetback for water heating. Provides cooking, heating and hot water in winter.  In summer they have solar hot water and an electric stove to stop heating the house any more as they cook.

For summer hot water, 2KW of panels connected to a heater or through an inverter back to the mains would take care of all your hot water needs.

The first problem for you with making bio would be sourcing the methanol. You'd probably have to get it from brisvegas to get any sort of a reasonable price on the stuff.  From when I last checked some time back, I'd expect the right price to be around $250 a Drum now.  Bag of KOH will be about $60.
That would give you high conversion bio of around 800L but I'd be stretching it to lower conversion of at least 2000L.

Mate and I built a reactor that was good for 1500L at a time but we only ever ran 1200L batches to give us 1000L of finished bio.
It was quite a setup  and had several sub processes. First was drying and heating the oil, 2nd was the actual mixing and reaction, 3rd was washing and drying. It was anything from a half day to a day depending on the oil we had ( Often a lot of fat as mate liked a challenge) for the cook up and then another maybe 90 min over the following week running the wash and drying process.
 Most people break it down to 200L batches so they can use a regular 44 and it's not on the industrial scale of equipment we had.
We just tended to get a drum of meth, a bag of Koh, Checked the oil titration wasn't too high which it never was as we did a glyc pre was and went from there.

When mate gave it away and sold all the gear, the guy that bought it all filled a decent size Rigid truck.  Mate allocated a 3 car garage and everything was in there and we never realised just how much gear we had acquired over the years doing it but out goal was to make the process as " factory like " as we could and we achieved that.

I really miss our Bio cookups.  Was always a great day getting filthy and making big fires etc and just relaxing ( no stress) even though we worked hard... if that makes any sense.

By the time you bought the Chemistry, I'd think you'd be better off to just go to the airport and buy a drum of AvTur and blend the oil.  All you would need would be a 44 and a pump to mix it. Lot less equipment, time and stuffing around than  cooking up bio batches.   ;)

ajaffa1

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Re: Finally, some use for excess solar power.
« Reply #16 on: October 03, 2018, 01:51:54 PM »
Hey Glort, yes these boilers had electronic start stop. As I said earlier they were spark ignition. I also lived in properties with gas boilers, these had a pilot light. Wonder if a gas fed pilot light would ignite vegetable oil sprayed through a fine nozzle. An 8 KG bottle would probably run a pilot light for a year or more.

Think you are right about the addition/blending with something more volatile.

I`m in the same boat as you, I have solar during the day which heats hot water and provides electricity to household appliances. I am buggered if I can find a cheap way to store it for use at night, which is when we usually need it, I export far more to the grid than I import but I still get a heft bill every quarter. Batteries are too expensive and unreliable.

Looking forward to running the CS on WVO to fill this gap, might even be able to export any excess to the grid if I can

Bob

glort

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Re: Finally, some use for excess solar power.
« Reply #17 on: October 03, 2018, 03:30:24 PM »
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 Wonder if a gas fed pilot light would ignite vegetable oil sprayed through a fine nozzle. An 8 KG bottle would probably run a pilot light for a year or more.

That is a great solution. Veg oil will definitely light from a flame. A spark is a very different thing but a flame would be NO trouble at all.  those Burner guns atomise the fuel really well and would make lighting oil off very easy.


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Batteries are too expensive and unreliable.

They are certainly expensive but that's not really the deal breaker for me, It's  the components and cost of wiring you need to make them work in a system that's the killer.  You need substantial charger(s) and then a more substantial inverter.
No way you are ever going to get your investment back on that when you only need them for Night usage.

I started off my solar proclivity with a small system.  2 large N70 car batteries, a cheap but very good charger and a 2KW inverter I picked up off gum tree for a song that was a very good brand. Probably had a KWH of capacity in that without over taxing the batteries too much.
Couple more batteries and you double that.

Of course if you add up the cost of the 4 N70 batteries alone, you would be paying minimum $600. Then there is the inverter, $300 Min for a half decent one, Charger, allow $70 for an MPPT and wiring, etc. Then you would have probably a lead running into the hose you plugged your bare essentials into,  Light, TV, Fridge.

You are up to $1000 for an inconvenient system to live like misers.
That $1000 is going to buy you a probably several years of night time power use with ALL the convinces.
As much as we often overlook it, grid power is still way cheaper than any equivalent DIY supply.

When you say you get a hefty bill, exactly how much does that add up to?

The " Media" advise is always how to less power but they never acknowledge how quick it adds up on what they charge now.  Still cheaper than DIY but still adds up quick when you have top pay for it.
But that's the way they base their pricing model.  Low enough to keep you on the grid but high enough to maximumise their profits.


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Looking forward to running the CS on WVO to fill this gap, might even be able to export any excess to the grid if I can

I am still not sure about the all round returns on this even with free fuel.
To be specific, if you took the value of the engine, genny and setup at new so it had maximum life and then ran it till it required rebuild and factored in maintence etc, if the power generated would be equal to or better than the  acquisition and running costs of said setup..... allowing for free fuel.

The calculations would be a bit involved. You would have t factor in the value of the power NOT purchased as well as the value of the power fed back.
The best advantage is of course what you don't buy and therefore save the most on not the power you don't need to generate and get tiddly winks for.
If you were aiming for a power credit, then without doubt used solar panels would be your best investment.

I guess the simple calculation would be attributing the cost of your current power charges against running/ maintence costs.   
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    IF your bill is $500 a quarter and you reduce it to zero, then that's the income to be played off against any and all running/ repair and maintence.
That would have to include cost of collection of oil, filtering, engine oil changes, and anything at all you spend that is to do with that setup.

Thinking in print....

Engine oil.
Change interval, probably around 100 hours if running veg oil.
Change Volume.  4.5l?
Top up over 100 hours?  2l?
Oil cost.  $35 +

100 Hours @ 3kw = 300 KWH @ .30c Kwh = $90 value.  GP= $55

Fuel prep. 
Fuel for Collection for 200L =$10.
Filters $1
Power to filter dry = inconsequential.

Gp =$44/ 100hr run time

I'm sure there would be other things that would have to be factored in over the long term but if you called the net profit .40c an hour run time, I think that would be in the ball park depending on the cost of the power you were offsetting. Longer term expenses might be Belts, air filter, brushes and more which I might be well under rating at .4c an  hour.

If you have say $1500 invested in the engine, genny, wiring etc, You are going to have to run the thing 375 Hours just to recoup the initial investment and it's longer, Probably 500 hours because you have now had 4 oil changes and other things such as probably a belt or air filter over that accumulated time. 

500/ 12 Hours a day = 42 days.  3 hrs day =166 days.
THEN you go to making .40C an hour -IF_ nothing else has gone wrong and needed a dollar spent on it.

I do NOT include " Your time" because this is not going to take you away from earning money so your leisure time is not an expense.

This is all off the top of my bald head so I'd be interested to hear in what others with plenty of long term running experience such as Ed have to say about these numbers and what they think the costs if different may be.
These numbers seem to confirm what I last worked out years ago, the returns are very thin at best on a purely financial basis but I'd be keen to hear what I have overlooked and forgotten and how those things would affect the equation.

Not trying to put the knockers on the idea Bob, just prevent it costing you money instead of potentially saving it.

glort

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Re: Finally, some use for excess solar power.
« Reply #18 on: October 05, 2018, 09:02:41 AM »

Problem Temporarily averted.

Last 3 days has been completely overcast with 27MM so far of much needed rain.  Went down the letterbox earlier to collect the latest additions to my electronic boards collection and was looking at the garden.  Kicked the dirt and about 100mm down, hit the dry dust.
Sure is going to take a lot of rain to put anything worthwhile right into the soil rather than just on top.

I made 20.6 Kwh today. More than I would have thought considering it has been looking like rain all day and very dull. 
Quite a bit down from the 70 Kwh a day I was making at the start of the week but not bad.  Had the air on heat again the last 2 days given I have the power to spare and the temp has dropped again, down to 3 and 5o C at night but so far in the last 2 days, only burnt 43KWH in total.
Pretty surprised at that too!

Have a heater on a thermostat on the Bio gas tank probably burning 3-5 Kwh a day and put the hot water heater on which would have been pulling back from the mains almost totally instead of just running off the excess solar that was over volting the circiut.
Rain is predicted for the next week so might put a dent in that banked power yet.  Would be nice if it worked out that way, Finally I really did get to store some  power I could later recoup for a real saving and purpose.

ATM have 129KWH banked in credit.  @ say 25Kwh day useage over and above what I'm still getting from the solar feed, should have 5 days worth of power for the overcast days ahead.  Might fall a little short over the next week of predicted wet weather but once the sun comes out again, will be back in credit inside a week which will work out nicely for the next meter read.

Clearly the power situation is confusing the women folk. I am now getting crap for putting on the air and having things running I whinged at them for. Trying to educate them and get them to understand power is short in winter and Ok from spring to Autumn.
Was thinking maybe I should get a little white board and put it and the fridge showing how much we are ahead or behind.
Then I though, probably too complicated for them.

Maybe do a traffic light thing and put a large coloured circle right on the fridge.

Green means go for it, we are in front, don't care what you do.
Yellow means go steady,  nothing to waste,
Red means put the brakes on and stop, Nothing left in the Kitty.

I messaged Mrs Yesterday and asked her to bring home cash. She brougt it in last night says there you go, what you want it for?  I said I found another inverter I want.  I got a cheery " Ok". last time it was " You are not spending any more money on that solar shit". Maybe now she's realising the benefit when I ask " Have you got the dryer on?"  and she say yes and I say oh righto, thought I could hear something. 
I just knew she was waiting for the lecture she didn't get.

Things ARE looking up.  :laugh:

ajaffa1

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Re: Finally, some use for excess solar power.
« Reply #19 on: October 10, 2018, 10:23:15 AM »
Hey Glort, I`ve been thinking about your enormous power generating capability and a good use for it. There has been a lot of talk recently about growing food hydroponically indoors. In the USA there are several companies that grow fruit and vegetables indoors in inner city areas. These farms are usually on a very small plot and produce an enormous amount of top quality food in a very small area, very close to where the customer/consumer lives, reducing delivery costs.

These setups are very high tech with temperature and humidity control, computerized watering and lighting systems. Should be right up your alley.

Bob

glort

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Re: Finally, some use for excess solar power.
« Reply #20 on: October 10, 2018, 11:49:05 AM »

This is about the most Viable Idea I have been able to come up with so far Bob. I actually have seedlings in atm and have been getting LED floodlights and transformers ready to set something up.
At my old place I had a stack of tomato plants in tubs with LEDS shining on them all night. Some of that was battery solar but I can store power in the grid now as it were.

I bought a heap of Tubs a while back to make a grow wall which i'll put lettuce in. that's going to go near the back verandah with some lights on that.
I had an aeroponics drum at the last place also lit up and there was nothing like walking 6 Ft out the back door and harvesting the produce to take in for Dinner.  We all enjoyed that.

Wonder how the neighbors here are going to take to me having Intense lighting in the back yard all night?  It does tend to radiate more than one would expect but I'll confine it as much as possible.  Might keep the foxes and other wild life out the yard.

My excess power banking has come in very handy.  Today and the last week has been very overcast. I think today was my lowest solar yield ever.
For Comparison, My highest was last Tuesday before  the weather fell over.  I made 70 Kwh. Today I did under 10.

The individual arrays tell the story.....

Last week        Today
21.5 Kwh        2.8
9.2                  0.6
12.4                0.7
26.9                 3.4
My over all consumption on the meter was only 20 Kwh because the hot water heater did not turn on. hopefully there will be more sun ( or rain) tomorrow.  Doesn't really matter, still have plenty of juice in the bank.

I am a little concerned how much one phase has been going backwards however. it's the phase I have put the heater on for my bio gas digester.  It's a 700W heater on a controller but I am wondering how much power that's burning?  I put a logger on it tonight to get an idea of the 24Hr Consumption. Digester would be dead without it here atm.

Still predicting rain here for another week so might get to put all that power to good use afterall.  That's fine, power I can make for nothing, water I can't and it's relatively expensive to buy and I need a LOT of it when it does not rain.  Had about 35mm in the last week and I'd like double that in the next week to put things on the right foot going into summer.

ajaffa1

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Re: Finally, some use for excess solar power.
« Reply #21 on: October 10, 2018, 12:52:08 PM »
Hey Buddy, glad you like the idea of growing your own food, never know what you are getting from the supermarkets or if you`ll be able to buy what you need considering the present drought.

Just a heads up on lighting for plants, it might sound strange but they need sleep too. 5 to 6 hours a day of darkness or they will die.

Rainfall here has been OK, not what the weathermen predicted but still good. Sent 8 hours today cutting the bloody grass, not going to complain just going to go to bed early, very tired out.  :laugh:

My solar output has also fallen but I`d rather the rain.

Bob

glort

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Re: Finally, some use for excess solar power.
« Reply #22 on: October 10, 2018, 02:23:47 PM »
Hey Buddy, glad you like the idea of growing your own food, never know what you are getting from the supermarkets or if you`ll be able to buy what you need considering the present drought.

I'm fussy with what I eat.  No way I am going to put anything from Some asian Country in my mouth for a start where it's legal to grow food in human shit.  I also don't see why we import Things like oranges from OS when there is more than enough local production and a lot gets plouged because there is no market.  Don't care if the fruit is $5 apiece, I'll have local thanks for a range of reasons.

The thing I love about growing your own is the taste.  Store bought Tomatoes are tasteless to me for a start.  Brother in law wouldn't eat lettuce till I made him try mine. then he cleaned up a massive bowl of salad on his own. His wife was amazed. He said I never had anything taste like that before.
I made up his Mrs a BIG pot of growing Salad. Didn't last long I was told.

Quote
Just a heads up on lighting for plants, it might sound strange but they need sleep too. 5 to 6 hours a day of darkness or they will die.

I have heard that before. I gave my plants at the other place all night lighting. They were OK but maybe better if they did get a rest?
They certainly get the treatment with nutrient. I treat soil like a Hydroponic medium and make sure everything they want is in the water they get.  I can get a LOT of tomatoes out of one plant in a 25L Drum! Matter of fact, I couldn't get stakes high enough to support them and had to take the heads out as well as limit the offshoots and foliage.


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Sent 8 hours today cutting the bloody grass, not going to complain just going to go to bed early, very tired out.  :laugh:

Bob, when you spend 8 hours on a ride on, you either are working for the council, have a mowing Business or need a goddam TRACTOR!

Or maybe something like this:

https://youtu.be/46yz09d9ZTc?t=156

You could do it with push mowers as well. About 4 aside I reckon!  https://youtu.be/4rTczZe6qu8?t=199
I'd actually like to get a couple of old decks and put oversize engines on them so they would Cut anything with ease.

Wouldn't be hard to get an old 6 or 8 Ft slasher deck, add castor wheels, Put a pulley on the PTO gearbox, mount an engine  and off you go!



ajaffa1

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Re: Finally, some use for excess solar power.
« Reply #23 on: October 11, 2018, 11:07:47 AM »
Hey Glort, I did do it with a push mower and a whipper snipper!  :laugh: I`m not sure a tractor would be advisable in the house paddock. I always do the first cut of the year with a push mower, it allows me to pick up all the sticks, stones, dog toys and other detritus. It also gives me a good cardio workout, which I`m glad to say I passed. Sore all over today but gave me a good excuse to spend today in the shed servicing Lister injector pumps.

Still got to mow the vegetable garden and then I`m onto the other paddocks where I really do need a tractor.

Bob

 

glort

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Re: Finally, some use for excess solar power.
« Reply #24 on: October 11, 2018, 12:34:41 PM »

Well you motivated me today Bob.

Planted a bunch of seedlings out and put in a bunch of corn.
My ideas of being a small farmer keep kicking me in the butt.  All the seedlings I put in under my office window last week were gone today! WTF??

If it's not the Frost it's the heat. If it's not the heat it's the birds, if it's not the birds it's Rabbits and if it's not the rabbits..... It's goddam snails!
I can't win a trick here! Definately going back to my container gardening.  I did really well with that and had none of these problems.
Yeah. I think your idea was spot on. Bugger the veggie patch, i'm going to stick a shed and concrete right over the top of it, cover the roof in solar panels and set up an indoor system where I can control temp, humidity and pests!
Plus, no digging weeds and other crap.

I spoke to my father earlier tonight. Asked him if he still had the old slasher down the back? He Asked why.  Told him, I had this hair brained Idea about putting swivel wheels on it and driving the gearbox with an engine and towing it behind something like his Kubota ute ATV thing. 
Thought I'd be ridiculed but he seemed to think it was a plausible idea.... except why would he want that when he had a tractor?
Told him I wasn't thinking of him specificaly but then again, he could probably get in less trouble with that than the slasher on the tractor and he could go over softer ground without ripping it up.  He seemed to ponder the idea and said he couldn't see why it wouldn't work. Only thing was to put height adjustment on it which would neither be hard nor really necessary I think but anyway.


Maybe at least you should get a slasher Mower Bob. they can do a 34" cut or something similar.  8 hours pushing a mower...... Geez!
I would have rather spent 6.5 hours building something and 90 min to do the job!

BTW, You don't MOW the veggie garden, you till it with your 2 wheel tractor like I did to mine last week. Well not the veggie garden so much as the over grown flower garden.  Mrs wanted me to get on the end of a shovel. Bugger that for a joke. Got out the little toy tractor, took the wheels off, put all the tines on and  off we went.  Turned all those weeds and rubbish into dug in compost.
I was out there today looking at my handy work and despite the rain, not one bit of it has sprouted. I did go over it well and truly and obviously it worked. Wasn't easy wrestling the plough round either but anything with a motor is more fun in doing a job than with something without one.

 Was thinking I'll give it another go over tomorrow  for good measure and do another bit I have cleared of the big rubbish. I did dig a bit of that to see how hard it was and it's nearly all clay. Will be a good test for the machine...... Not that I think anything can stop that little beast!

ajaffa1

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Re: Finally, some use for excess solar power.
« Reply #25 on: October 12, 2018, 12:02:25 PM »
Hey Glort, I don`t mow the veggie patch only the paths in between!  :laugh:

I think that, with the right setup, inner city farmers can make a very good return on minimal investment. There are a few very highly prized vegetables that chefs will kill for. For example fresh horseradish root, fresh wasabi and all herbs. Last time my Wife was at the Sydney markets they offered her $90 a kilo for fresh horseradish root!  :o  I do grow some but it`s difficult in the Australian climate. would be very easy in an environmentally controlled container.

The easiest way to break up clay is with gypsum, trouble is it`s expensive. Standard plasterboard sheets are made with gypsum, there are probably skips full of the stuff around you. Just lay it on the ground and plough it in with your rotorvator, works just as well and costs nothing.

Bob


glort

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Re: Finally, some use for excess solar power.
« Reply #26 on: October 12, 2018, 02:09:47 PM »

Is there a special kind of horse Raddish?
I just looked it up and everything said it's easy to grow in oz.  Doesn't seem like something that would be in big demand.
All the wasabi seeds come from china so would be irradiated as they came though quarantine.

I do have some moringa seeds here I have been going to plant for a while.  That is supposedly highly desired by some cultures.  There are a couple of dead trees up the back I'll have to get out and the moringa would be great in their positions.

Great idea with the Gypsum. I had heard of that as clay breaker and was wondering if it was the same as gyprock.  I have been throwing the cats litter tray on a clay rich part of the garden. That is mainly bentonite which is a clay but I believe also breaks up normal orange clay.  Maybe I should dig the clay out, make something with it and use the excess power to fire it?

Sure hasn't been any excess power lately. Been averaging about 10 KW/ day consumption which isn't bad.  Shown how much flat panels  outdo tilted ones in bad weather. I'd lay all the ground mount panels on the grass except i'm only just getting it to grow back and cover where I did that last time.
Spose they must really generate some heat when the space underneath is closed off and they are sitting in the summer sun.
The ones I have had tilted have the opposite effect.  Everything is growing under them wildly.  I'd surmising that's because the dew gets under them and they can retain a bit of moisture being sheltered from the direct sun through the day.

Supposed to be decent rain tomorrow again.  I live in hope. The ground is moist now so I think anything from here is going to start doing some real good. Might put some reserve back in the tanks as well.